Monday, July 14, 2008

phil lesh and friends at jones beach: review, photos and setlist

phil lesh and friends at jones beach was my third concert in 4 days, and easily the best show of the trio! it was a return of sorts, since my last phil lesh show, 2006, was also here at jones beach. with the revised line-up of friends, and no joan osborne on this tour, it was an entirely different sound - and experience!

rob, emmy and i drove down to the show together. in a repeat of the dark star orchestra and tea lea leaf green shows on governor's island friday night, we hooked up my friend paul (and his friends) for a bit of tail gating before heading in for the show.

paul and cheryl (awol from this photo op is his friend chris).

the only downside to our trip was missing levon helms as the opening act. whatever bright light decided to schedule his show for 5 pm had him and his band play to a practically empty theatre!
we made it to our seats around 6:30, and phil was supposed to take the stage at 7. the show started closer to 7:20 - but was well worth the wait!

without any preliminaries, they went straight into "playin in the band" > jam > "bird song." the powerful rendition of "bird song" was followed (for me) by the unrecognized "when you're walking away," into a fired up version of "the wheel." fired up with some intense guitar riffs - giving us a taste of the incredibly heavy guitar solos to follow later in the show!

things slowed down a bit with "mountains of the moon," and picked up again as they cruised into a great "uncle john's band." but that pair was just the set-up for the most intense, hard-rocking "sugar magnolia > sunshine daydream" i've ever heard performed to close the first set!! it included some of the most intense, driving guitar work ever played on a dead tune. in fact, it's no stretch to say it almost redefined the song!

after a wayyy tooo long intermission (easily 40+ minutes) the came back on with a rocking "china cat" - and since phil has been unpacking the "china >rider" lately, into "fire on the moutain!" once again, that pair was just the set up for what was probably one of the most hard rockin, bluesy version of "sugaree" ever played. just like the first set sugar magnolia > sunshine daydreams," it redefined the tune (and its potential) in my mind - totally awesome!

then we got a trip down memory lane with "st. stephen > eleven (including some spacey keyboard effects for a twist)," which set-up an intense, jam driven, "unbroken chain." unless i was seriously hallucinating (and i'm sure i wasn't) - phil and friends tossed in a stretch of edgar winter's "frankenstein" runs during the first jam! totally inspired performance!

the second set wound down with a "dark star > born cross-eyed > dark star." and closed with a totally botched "know you rider." emmy and rob weren't disappointed by "rider" - but the muffed lyrics and totally soft sung "if i was a headlight on a north bound train" was painful to listen to. but that one misstep couldn't mar what was a killer show!

we headed out just as phil went into his rap and the encores ("attics of my life"/"playin" reprise). this was one terrific night of music!!

the complete setlist:

first set: playin' in the band > jam > bird song, when you're walking away, the wheel > jam > mountains of the moon > uncle john's band, sugar magnolia > sunshine daydream

second set: jam> china cat sunflower > fire on the mountain > sugaree, st. stephen > jam > the eleven, unbroken Chain > jam > dark star > born cross-eyed > dark star > i know you rider

encore: attics of my life playin' in the band (reprise).

check out the rest of the photos from the show!


Fishmagic said...

Wow! That's a killer show.

BTW, Could you suggest any shows that the Dead did that went from China Cat into Fire on the Mountain. I'm more familiar with Scarlet Begonias And Fire.

kyela said...

nice blog..Ü

Rob said...

I had more problems with "Dark Star" than "I Know You Rider", though the interpolation of "Born Cross-Eyed" was great. I thought their uptempo/hard-rock tendencies were well-suited to just about everything else, but a great "Dark Star" requires a different kind of intensity altogether - it should be more of an exploratory quest than an Allman Bros. -style jam. Everything else was superb, though, and I agree that their take on "Sugaree" was an eye-opener.

Anonymous said...

I was there. Have attended a good amount of Phil shows over the years.

I thought Devon and the folks that opened were fun and played some great stuff from The Band.

With regard to Phil's band, what a f-cking dispointment. It was slow, inconsistent and lacked energy.

I agree the last song of the first set rocked -- and J. Green was on fire! But overall, this show was not great. Sorry.....

rundangerously said...

thanks kurt! this was the first time i heard china > fire! don't remember a dead show where they broke up china > rider. but plenty of shows where the broke up scarlet > fire. rob mentioned a great scarlet > sugar magnolia (have to ask him which one it was).

thanks kyela! and thanks for stopping by!

agree w/you 100% on dark star, rob! fyi - phil did dark star in second set of jones beach 06 (the old fashioned way)!

lacked energy? hum? the only thing from that show that lack energy was the verse of "rider" in the second set! molitz was on fire whenever he put pick to guitar!!

bummed about missing levon :( his set came on way too early!

Anonymous said...

As far as your comment: "totally soft sung "if i was a headlight on a north bound train" , if you knew anything about Phil's take of Rider you would know thats the way he has been performing it for years. The song is "traditional" and if you are expecting someone to replicate Jerry belting out the line then you really do not appreciate what PHil is all about.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, MOLITZ IS THE KEYBOARD PLAYER !!!! Why are you even commenting on the band when you do not even know the members?? Your right Molitz was on fire, but when he put his fingers to the keys!! The guitar players are Larry Campbell and Jackie Greene. Please give me a break!!

rundangerously said...

thanks for catching the typo.

as to the rest, if you dug that "rider" more power to you! i thought it was painful to listen to - and that's ignoring the flubbed lyrics such as "backyard" instead of "backdoor."

if you're a fan of phil's traditions - you must have been disappointed by sugaree and sugar magnolia because they sounded nothing like anything that's come before - and each was awesome!

great hearing from an expert on all things phil! rock on dude!

Anonymous said...

What a PHONY!! Your calling it a typo??, You called MOlitz the guitar player TWICE!! Just admit you do not know who he or the guitar players actually are. As far as flubbed lyrics ... are you kidding me?? Your going to knock Phil for flubbing some lyrics? Have you actually gone or listened to a Grateful Dead showthroughout their career? Routinely, even after they got teleprompters, Jerry and Bobby FLUBBED LYRICS. And you missed what "TRADITIONAL" means. "I know you Rider" is not a grateful dead song, it is an TRADITIONAL TUNE, with unknown author. Are you aware of how that song has been interpeted over countless years? Please now!

rundangerously said...

dude, you sure sound angry! lighten up!

Anonymous said...

Phony, I see where you changed your photo caption (on the linked to campbell/green on guitars, but you elected to leave the so called "typo" in above. You know the twice occuring magic "typo". LOL, dont worry your secret is safe. I love it when people post negative comments about something they know absolutly nothing about.

rundangerously said...

wow, for someone who posts anonymously, to call someone else phony is priceless!

for for that same character to post rude and insulting comments anonymously is even more breathtaking!

but, to each his own...

Anonymous said...

Great deflection, I'm anonymous because I cant be bothered signing up for some simple blog. Has nothing to do with identity, whats the difference if one posts anonymously or as some really "cool" name as "rundangerously". Wow, that gives you so much more credibility!! Stop deflecting and just admit that you didnt know who the guitar players are nor the keyboardest and I will cease. Come clean on the "magic" double "typo". You know the truth "runsdangerously".

rundangerously said...

your honesty is off the charts!

for someone who can't be bothered to sign his name, you've invested a ton of pyschic energy visiting this blog to vent...

hope it works for you :D

fyi, you don't need to register for this simple blog.

Pete (big difference than anonymous) said...

WTF, you never address the issue. Typical lawyer, if it makes you feel better my name is Pete, and I'm not here to vent. Just if your gonna critique one of the greatest american innovator's current band, AT LEAST KNOW WHO THEY ARE!

rundangerously said...

hey pete! glad to meet you!

fyi - i thought phil's entire show was awesome! the only critique i had (and still have) was (is) about rider! china > rider one of my favorite tunes.

about campbell, i've seen him play as far back as the days he was w/pat metheny! about greene - i know nothing (never heard of him before phil).

the molitz business was a case of brain freeze. i don't mind you bustin my chops, but i don't dig rudeness! i really did like the spacey riffs he tossed into st. stephen!


Rob said...

rob mentioned a great scarlet > sugar magnolia (have to ask him which one it was).

Frank, the show was 7/18/89, Alpine Valley, WI. "Downhill From Here" was filmed at the same run of shows, but doesn't include that Scarlet -> Sugar Mag IIRC. The transition is pretty awesome.